Inspired by Nature: Sustainable accessories from Arture
Today I bring you an interview with Shivani Patel, the lovely lady behind Arture, a sustainable accessories start-up from India. As a community development practitioner I am so pleased to be featuring a brand that has been developed by a local entrepreneur, rather than a western entrepreneur who is manufacturing in India. Our societies in the West have in the past benefited from the exploitation of colonisation. Today fast fashion brands are continuing this exploitation in poorer communities across the globe. Ethical fashion brands are changing this. However, as consumers, if we only support western-owned brands and businesses we continue a power dynamic that ensures that western businesses to dominate the global economy at the expense of local entrepreneurs. That is certainly not to say that we shouldn’t ever buy from western owned brands who manufacture ethically in India and elsewhere- many of them are making very positive impacts for the communities in which they are working. But only that we should be aware of how our consumer dollar can perpetuate or break down global power dynamics and consider our purchases in that light.
But enough of my soap-boxing, let’s hear from Shivani herself. When Shivani first contacted me I was pretty excited by the sustainability properties of the main material she uses for her range, which you will see for yourself as you read on:
Can you tell us a bit about your brand?
The name Arture was derived from Art+Nature and I like to call it “the canvas of nature”. Arture is my means of discovering all of natures secrets and creating pieces of art with them. I am inspired by all things natural and I have always loved to play around with textures. What better place to find the most beautiful textures than nature itself?
What makes your products sustainable?
The main material that I am using is cork fabrics. Cork is a material that comes from the bark of the cork oak tree. These trees grow in the Mediterranean mainly. The bark of the tree is harvested to make cork. No tree is ever cut down in the process. This is what makes cork one of the most ecological materials to use. The cork forests also support a rich diversity of flora and fauna, including the Iberian Lynx, the world’s most endangered large cat. The cork is cut into thin sheets and laminated on a fabric backing to make cork fabrics.
Can you tell us a little more about yourself, and why sustainability is important to you?
I graduated from the National Institute of Fashion Technology, Chennai in 2013. I always knew that I wanted to create products that would make a difference. But I didn’t know what exactly I wanted to do and how exactly I would go about it. I was redecorating my room that summer and decided to make a pin-up board for myself. I went out and bought some cork sheets for the same, and suddenly I looked at the material and found my inspiration. I did more research about the use of cork in fashion and all of it’s properties and that’s when I was convinced that I had found the perfect material. That’s how Arture was born.
Thanks to Shivani for taking the time to answer my questions. You can find out more about Arture by following the Facebook page or on Twitter, and you can pre-order your sustainable purses and bags by supporting Arture’s Crowd-funding campaign. I do hope you will check them out!
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